Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Monkeys at Ubud, Uluwatu and Sangeh


There are many colonies of monkeys in Bali. The three most popular visited are Monkey Forest in Ubud, Uluwatu and Sangeh north west of Ubud.

Ubud Monkey Forest
This is probably the most visited as it is in a central position. There is a fee of 20 000Rp to enter the area. Since the monkey have been protected and fed their numbers have increased rapidly to the point that the area may be over populated with monkeys. Prior to protection they were quite shy and usually turned their backs when tourists tried to take  photos. Now they wander about unconcerned. Mostly they do not worry about tourists UNLESS you have food, then they may jump on you, especially early in the morning. The best thing is NOT to have food for them. Avoid the alpha males and females with young.

Whilst in the Monkey Forest there are other things to see.
1. The main temple - turn away from the entry area - about 100m.

2. The ravine with some good views of tropical jungle. Go down the steps - quite a lot of them. Over the bridge by the huge banyan tree. Turn right and find the huge lizards carved into the rock. Explore the small temple with koi fish. On you way back observe the bridge. The original supports have all been eroded away and the bridge is now held up by the roots of the banyan tree.

3. Go up a short set of steps to the burial area. Observe the small head stones. Here the dead are buried until the families have saved enough money for a cremation ceremony. Usually several families will join together and have a combined cremation ceremony. Cremation ceremonies only take place at special times of the year.

4. Nearby is a temple with grotesque carvings. This temple is to appease the evil spirits. The evil spirits are not worshiped but paid homage to. In Balinese culture good and evil exist together. Balinese folk tales do not end with the "bad person" being killed such as the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood. In a Balinese story the wolf would run away and live to fight another day. The co existence of good and evil is expressed in the black and white checked material used to decorate statues etc.

Some of the monkeys here are not very friendly. They will grab any earings, necklaces, sunglasses etc. I have seen them grab a child's thong ( flip flop ) and tear it to shreds. I have a suspicion that some monkeys have been trained to grab sun glasses etc, for as soon as the monkey takes of a guy appears and tells you he will retrieve the "stolen" item for you. Of course he expects a reward!
Whils ta Uluwatu go to the Kecak and Fire Dance. Start time 6pm but get your tickets early. Cost 70 000Rp. There are great shots of the sun setting behind the performers and you have the opportunity to get a photo with the performers in their costumes.

One time I was at Uluwatu I thought my wife was stroking my hair. I though it was my lucky day ( maybe lucky night ). We were with a group of friends and I realised they were laughing. I looked around to find my hair was being groomed by a monkey!!!


A forest area a few Km north west of Ubud. The monkey are more in their natural habitat here

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